Tag Archives: History

Diamonds Separated by Oceans: Baseball, Japanese-Americans, and Southern California’s Pacific Rim

Tropics of Meta

Baseball game at Manzanar War Relocation Center | Photo: Ansel Adams, courtesy of the Library of Congress Baseball game at Manzanar War Relocation Center | Photo: Ansel Adams, courtesy of the Library of Congress

“If California has made any contribution to sport on a national level, it is in the democratization of pursuits that were previously the prerogatives of elites,” noted the dean of California history Kevin Starr in 2005. “Most of the champions of the twentieth century who come from California first developed their skills in publicly subsidized circumstances: municipally supported swimming pools, golf courses, and tennis courts in particular, where middle class Californians, thanks to the recreational policies of Progressivism, were introduced to these previously social register sports.” 1 Indeed, even under the weight of racism, groups denied equal access to mainstream U.S. society found sports as a means to greatness and, in part, as a declaration of their commitment to America. Take two-time gold medalist Highland Park native Sammy Lee, or Hall of…

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McGraw & Mathewson.

The On Deck Circle

What does reason know?  Reason only knows what it has succeeded in learning. -Dostoevsky

If you could build your own Baseball Hall of Fame, what kind of place would it be?

It’s likely that the actual Hall of Fame includes several  players you admired while growing up.  It’s also likely that some of the players you admired the most then, and still do today, were never deemed Hall worthy.

You may not even have any real problem with that.  Intellectually, you probably understand the statistical reasoning that has served to exclude some of your favorite players.

But suppose we were to construct a Hall of the Heart, that is, a place (or, more accurately, an idea), where those players who captured our imagination all those years ago would be enshrined?  In fact, when we use the term “Hall of Fame,” it begs the question, famous to whom?

If fame…

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The Scream / Edvard Munch’s Oslo

Pedersen's Last Dream

Agony & Ecstasy

NO PAINTING SUMS UP the alienation and isolation of 21st century existence as does The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. After Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, it is the second most recognised painting in the world.

The idea came to Munch while walking in the wooded hills above old Oslo more than a century ago, following a bout of heavy drinking the previous evening.

“I was walking along the road with two friends. The sun set. I felt a great sadness. Suddenly the sky became blood red. I stopped, leaned against the railings, dead tired. And saw the flaming clouds as blood over the blue-black fjord and city. My friends walked on. I stood there trembling with angst. And I sensed a loud, unending scream pierce nature.”

Written shortly after his walk, the words that would eventually lead to the series of paintings and lithographs entitled Skrik (The Scream), contain…

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Horace Walpole

Longreads

Carrie Frye | Longreads | December 2014 | 16 minutes (4,064 words)

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As a child, Horace Walpole frequently heard it said of himself that surely he would die soon. Born in England in 1717, the last of his mother’s six children, he was fragile and prone to illness from birth. Two siblings before him had died in infancy, and so in the family order it went: three older children, loud, healthy and opinionated; two grave markers; and then young Horace toddling up behind—half child, half potential grave marker.

Naturally, his mother, Catherine, spoiled him. His father, Sir Robert Walpole, was the King’s prime minister. This often kept him away from home, as did a long-time mistress who acted, more than his wife did, as his hostess and companion. For her part Catherine had her own dalliances. It was that sort of marriage. The Walpoles…

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Feminism & Screwball Comedy: Why ‘Tootsie’ is One of the Finest (and Most Important) Comedies Ever Made

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In the first-season 30 Rock episode “Fireworks,” Liz Lemon and would-be beau Floyd fall asleep watching Tootsie. In their morning discomfort, Floyd awkwardly announces, “I, uh, I think Tootsie’s a very well-crafted movie.” Liz, equally uncomfortable, replies, “Yeah, they use it as an example in all the screenplay books.” As with the best of that show, it’s a moment that’s funny because it’s true — in this case, it’s literally true, Tootsie is a very well-crafted movie. But praising it solely for craft also shortchanges it a bit. The further we get from Tootsie — which is available for fresh consumption via Criterion’s recent DVD and Blu-ray special edition — the more it seems clear that it may, in fact, be the single finest comedy of all time.

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The Rise and Fall of John DeLorean

Delorean1

Longreads

Suzanne Snider | Tokion | June/July 2006 | 12 minutes (2,918 words)

This story by Suzanne Snider—which details the fantastical rise and fall of John DeLorean, a former titan of the American automotive industry—first appeared in the June/July 2006 issue of Tokion. Snider is the founder/director of Oral History Summer School, and she is currently completing a nonfiction book about rival communes on adjacent land. Our thanks to Snider for allowing us to feature it on Longreads. 

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